Lead Your FSA: A Learning Experience

Marcia Hoplin kneels in a green field.

Marcia Hoplin currently serves as the chairman of her local FSA county committee in Traill County, North Dakota. USDA Photo.

By: Lindsey Abentroth, FSA

The nomination period for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s annual county committee election began June 15 and continues through Aug. 1, 2022. Throughout the nomination period, we’ll be introducing county committee members from across the nation. This week meet Marcia Hoplin of Traill County, North Dakota, where she currently serves as the chairman of her local FSA county committee.

Getting Started

Marcia has been involved in agriculture her entire life. Growing up, she was her father’s main hand on the farm. Marcia took over the 1,000-acre grain and bean farm when he passed away in 1997 and has been running the farm by herself ever since.

Graduating from North Dakota State University with degrees in agriculture business and agriculture economics, she has spent winters working for the university assisting in research. She has also spent a lot of time cleaning and detailing farm equipment and putting together machinery parts for a local agriculture manufacturer.

“Farming is in my genes, and it’s been a part of my entire life,” Marcia said. As the only operator, Marcia remains engaged and involved with every aspect of the farm as a fourth-generation farmer on her operation. “Although there are ups and downs such as late planting springs and challenging weather years, it’s still a good life and I always look forward to harvest where you can see all the crops come full circle.”

Over the years, Marcia has participated in many FSA farm programs and implemented conservation practices with help from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“USDA Programs are designed to be a helpful tool when the going gets tough and certain things happen out of our control,” she said.  “You hope and never intend to rely on them, but there are times when disasters strike or market disruptions occur, and that is where USDA can jump in and help keep agriculture producers going.”

Serving the Community

Marcia began her county committee journey in 2010 when she became an advisor for her local FSA county committee. She later became an elected member, and in 2019, she became chairman and continues to serve in that role.

Marcia stands on the bottom step of the ladder on her red tractor.

Marcia first served as an advisor to her local county committee before becoming an elected member. USDA Photo.

“I think the most important part of the county committee is to help keep the county in compliance with farm program rules and regulations,” Marcia said. “Being involved on the county committee has been a great learning experience because it gave me the opportunity to dive into the programs offered and to learn the rules and eligibility that administer them.”

County committee members are farmers elected by their peers to serve as a direct link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers on the committee help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level and work to make FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers.

Each year, FSA accepts nominations for a certain Local Administrative Area and the LAA up for election rotates each year.

“If you want a better understanding of USDA farm commodity, disaster and conservation programs, running and serving on your local County Committee gives you hands-on experience and a true understanding of all that is offered,” Marcia said. “I really enjoy working with my fellow committee members and the employees in the office as well.”

More Information

For more information on FSA county committee elections, contact your local FSA office or visit fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Lindsey Abentroth is a public affairs and outreach specialist for FSA in North Dakota.

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